Jamuna Group Director Dr Mohammed Alamgir Alam today told The Business Standard that the conglomerate had decided to continue doing business with Evaly, without going into too much details after Evaly managing director Mohammad Rassel Tuesday claimed Jamuna will invest in the controversial ecommerce platform.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday night, Evaly Managing Director Mohammad Rassel announced that Jamuna Group is going to invest Tk1,000 crore in the e-commerce platform, which is under investigation over alleged embezzlement of Tk338 crore it took in advance from customers and owes to merchants.
"This investment will be used in development and expansion of Evaly's business. We are also giving priority in delivering the pending orders. We will manage more investments if needs," Mohammad Rassel said in that post.
On Wednesday, Jamuna Group Director Dr Alamgir Alam told The Business Standard, "We have decided to enter into a partnership relation with Evaly. The initial investment will be Tk200 crore, which will be converted as equity share. Gradually the investment may cross Tk1,000 crore."
"Both parties will set further policies and all issues in this regard will be in compliance with the prevalent government rules and regulations," he added.
However on Tuesday night, he said, "Evaly CEO Mohammad Rassel requested for help in several meetings with us to overcome the current situation. We already have business with Evaly. Considering the online platform's potential, we want to continue doing business with them."
"As a part of the help, we already have given products to them and will provide more in future. That, coupled with payments we are owed, our initial investment will be Tk200 crore in Evaly."
He also said Tk 1,000 crore in terms of business volume would be surpassed gradually, adding they would not stop taking orders from Evaly as they already had business valued at Tk 200 crore with the platform.
"Actually, they sought help from us. They would face losses and might have to shut down their business if everyone puts pressure on them for dues now. Others involved will be affected as well," Alamgir said.
Welcoming the partnership, Monika Islam, the group director of Jamuna Group, told Daily Jugantor, "Jamuna Group has been doing business with quality products and services in the country. Jamuna Future Park is the country's largest offline marketplace. Now, Jamuna will be with Evaly to make the largest online marketplace.
"We have stood beside Evaly during its tough time, trusting its honest business objective with a view to strengthen the e-commerce sector and digital Bangladesh," she added.
Jamuna Group's Finance Director SM Abdul Wadud said, "The initial investment will be Tk200 crore and it will be converted as equity share. Gradually the investment will be cross Tk1,000 crore."
"Jamuna Group has agreed to invest this money to save from the ruination of an emerging e-commerce marketplace, while the prime minister have a determination to make a digital Bangladesh," he added.
SM Abdul Wadud further said, "But the company has not evaluated its market value yet and both parties will set further policies issues to comply with the government rules and regulations."
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has launched an inquiry against Evaly following a commerce ministry request for legal action over alleged embezzlement of Tk338 crore Evaly took in advance from customers and owed to merchants.
The commerce ministry, on 19 July, sent a letter to Evaly, asking it to explain how it will clear its current liabilities to customers and merchants.
The commerce secretary said they would have to resort to the court to pay off Evaly's debts from the money in its bank accounts or by selling its current assets.
The e-commerce platform has been given until 1 August to send a written explanation to the commerce secretary on why legal action should not be taken against it to secure the interest of customers and merchants, and put a stop to the negative impact on the e-commerce industry.
On 4 July, the commerce ministry sent separate letters to the home ministry, the ACC, the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection and the Bangladesh Competition Commission to take legal action against Evaly by investigating the non-delivery of goods after accepting Tk214 crore in advance payment from customers and the refund of Tk190 crore owed to businesses.
In an inspection report submitted to the commerce ministry last month, the Bangladesh Bank said Evaly's total liability was Tk407.18 crore.
After receiving Tk213.94 crore in advance from customers and Tk189.85 crore from merchants, the company was expected to have at least Tk403.80 crore in current assets, but it had only Tk65.17 crore.
Expressing concern that the amount of Evaly's liability to customers and merchants may be higher, the Bangladesh Bank mentioned in the report that this is the reason why the Evaly authorities did not allow the inspection team to enter the company's replica database.